This afternoon, former Hillary Clinton flack Howard Wolfson, confronted by a Fox News colleague with actual Iowa polling that suggested Clinton wasn't the de facto second choice of John Edwards voters, backed away from his claim that an early disclosure of Edwards' affair cost Clinton the nomination. "There are a thousand different ways that you can play the what if game, but I do believe that the result would have been different had this become public year ago," he told Trace Gallagher.
Naturally, Wolfson's protestations against "playing the what if game" confuse me, since the most avid player of the "what if" game has been, uhm...Howard Wolfson:
"I believe we would have won Iowa, and Clinton today would therefore have been the nominee," former Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson told ABCNews.com.
With that earlier contention recanted, there's little left to his statement other than his brave contention that if things had gone differently, then there would be differences. Indeed! Imagine what might have been if Hillary Clinton had had another communications director!
Actually, there was a bit more to Wolfson's statement: "You know, if Senator Clinton hadn't gotten teary-eyed in New Hampshire, I think Senator Obama would have won New Hampshire and he would have been the nominee in January." Wow! Looks like someone's going to get a stern talking to from Geraldine Ferraro!
GALLAGHER: This came from Howard Wolfson of the Clinton campaign. He said that if John Edwards had come clean about his affair a year ago, that Hillary may very well be the Democratic nominee now. I want to bring in Howard Wolfson right now, and before I ask you this question, I want to show a quick poll. This is from the Washington Post entrance poll and it says that 43% of those who voted for John Edwards, their second choice was Barack Obama. Add that to the fact that after John Edwards dropped out of the race, your candidate, Hillary Clinton lost eleven contests. Now, let me ask you the question again: Do you still stand by what you said yesterday concerning concerning Barack Obama -- or, rather, concerning John Edwards' affair?
WOLFSON: Well, my gut tells me that had Senator Edwards dropped out of the race or had this become public prior to Iowa, that we would have done better in Iowa. The exit polling tells something different. I think the Obama campaign would argue differently. But at the end of the day, you can play the what if game endlessly. And you can play it both ways. You know, if Senator Clinton hadn't gotten teary-eyed in New Hampshire, I think Senator Obama would have won New Hampshire and he would have been the nominee in January. So, there are a thousand different ways that you can play the what if game, but I do believe that the result would have been different had this become public year ago.